Salt water, sunshine and fresh seafood. White sand beneath your feet and blue water stretching beyond the horizon. Caribbean turquoise hues in the south of England; kayaking across the blue next to fishing boats, seals and surfers. A laid-back, slower way of living, local food found on the seashore, sweet, juicy lobster brought in that day. The English seaside gets a bad rep, but when it works, it really works.
It’s Bärlauch, or wild garlic, season and I am beyond excited. You can pick it up in the supermarkets, but it’s much more fun to don the wellies and head out into the woods to pick your own. Much like in the UK, the season runs from March to May, with the middle period yielding the best leaves.
You have to be careful that it’s wild garlic you are picking and not the poisonous and similar-looking Lily of the Valley, but if you can identify it, you can have a foragers field day. It grows everywhere here. We drove five minutes from Basel and were greeted by green carpets of the stuff. Restaurants pretty much serve nothing else at the moment, and everyone has a recipe or two they can recommend. It doesn’t keep that long, so follow the foragers rule of only taking what you need, give it a good wash and whip it up into a quick pesto (with parsley and parmesan), or fry it and serve it with olive oil over pasta.